Five magic words in fundraising?

An interesting study reported at the Fundraising Fundamentals blog: Five Words That Helped a Local Nonprofit Raise More Money.

A public radio station tested using some specific words with in-bound callers during the pledge drive. Those words:


  1. Caring
  2. Compassionate
  3. Helpful
  4. Friendly
  5. Kind

When these five words were used during the call, women callers gave an average of $100. Those who didn’t hear those words gave an average of $83. The odd thing was this: use of those words had no impact on male callers — no increase, no decrease.

Does this mean use these words in fundraising and your average gift will jump 25%? Not necessarily. But it might.

I think the real lesson we can all draw from this is that when you talk to your donor about herself, good things usually happen. Try it.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff BrooksJeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 35 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com. More.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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About the blogger

Jeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 30 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com.

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